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Austrian GP 2015

JUNE 20, 2015

Practice 3 Report - That was that

Sebastian Vettel, Austrian GP 2015
© Active Picture


The rains came just halfway through Free Practice 3, and that was that because no driver then had a chance to improve his lap time. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel had been on top of the timing screens before the rain, and that's where he stayed.

The ambient temperature at the start of the session was 54 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Centigrade) and the track temperature was 70 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Centigrade).

The line-up for the weekend was: Mercedes ‘ Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Red Bull Renault ‘ Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat. Williams Mercedes ‘ Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas. Ferrari ‘ Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. McLaren Honda ‘ Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Force India Mercedes ‘ Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Toro Rosso Renault ‘ Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz. Lotus Mercedes ‘ Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado. Marussia Ferrari ‘ Will Stevens and Roberto Merhi. Sauber ‘ Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr.

Vettel had been quickest on Friday but his car had unrelated gearbox problems in both sessions.

"In the afternoon session we had a problem with the gearbox as one of the sensors went to the alert mode and we had to slow down," he said. "It's always better if it happens in free practice rather than in qualifying or in the race, but we have to look into it and make sure it's not happening again.

"In terms of feeling with the track, the lap is short and you just need to get into the rhythm. Unfortunately we didn't get as many laps as we wanted, but that's what it is. Overall the pace looks fine, we've taken a lot of information from this session, which is good. We know that we have a good car and we think we are competitive."

Merhi was the first driver to get on track. Rosberg set the first fast time: 1:12.469, but Hamilton beat that with a 1:11.131.

7 minutes into the session, Sainz reported that it was raining on parts of the circuit.

9 minutes into the session, Hamilton improved to a 1:10.358.

11 minutes into the session, Vettel beat that with a 1:09.994. Then Hamilton turned a 1:10.011.

16 minutes into the session, Raikkonen took third place with a 1:10.177.

18 minutes into the session, the order was: Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Massa, Bottas and Verstappen.

21 minutes into the session, Ricciardo and Nasr had yet to clock a lap time.

23 minutes into the session, Alonso headed out on the super softs. Then Verstappen did as well.

26 minutes into the session, the forecast called for rain in four minutes.

29 minutes into the session, FP3 was red flagged as Alonso coasted to a halt just opposite the pits.

The order was now: Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Perez, Rosberg, Massa, Bottas,Verstappen, Maldonado and Grosjean.

With 26 minutes remaining, the session was restarted. Rain was falling but some drivers ‘ Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Verstappen ‘ headed out on the super softs headed out on the super soft slicks.

With 27 minutes remaining in the session, the rain increased on the back section of the track, and the drivers drove slowly back to the pits. Still, Raikkonen went off at Turn 6.

Hulkenberg went out on the intermediate rain tires and slid off the slippery track before returning to the pits.

With 9 minutes remaining in the session, Vettel, Verstappen and Sainz went out on extreme wet tires.

Vettel and Raikkonen both had off track excursions, and Sainz and Verstappen had spins. And Verstappen and Raikkonen nearly collided.

The top 10 at the end of FP3 were: Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Perez, Rosberg, Massa, Bottas, Verstappen, Maldonado and Grosjean.